Climate Change, Sustainable Development, and Ecosystems
Recent Cases and Hot News
If you have a Hot News item that you would like posted, please sent it to Elizabeth Stevens or Jameson Tweedie.
On August 3, 2015, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released two final actions as part of its comprehensive plan to regulate greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions for existing and for new, modified, and reconstructed electric utility generating units (EGUs):
• EPA, Standards of Performance for Greenhouse Gas Emissions from New, Modified, and Reconstructed Stationary Sources: Electric Utility Generating Units; Final rule pursuant to CAA Section 111(b); and
• EPA, Emission Guidelines for Existing Stationary Sources: Electric Utility Generating Units; Final Rule pursuant to CAA Section 111(d).
In addition, EPA is issuing a proposed Federal Plan for states that choose not to adopt existing source regulations:
• EPA, Federal Plan Requirements for Greenhouse Gas Emissions from Electric Utility Generating Units Constructed on or Before January 8, 2014; Model Trading Rules; Amendments to Framework Regulations; Proposed Rule.
The final rules establish emission standards for new, modified, and reconstructed coal fired EGUs and separate limits for natural gas fired EGUs. These are issued under Section 111(b) of the Clean Air Act. In addition, under Section 111(d) of the Act, EPA is issuing final “guidelines” that establish the parameters for states to regulate existing EGUs. The final guidelines establish state budgets for carbon dioxide emissions from this sector, which are based on “building blocks” that EPA analyzed to determine the appropriate levels achievable in each state. States will choose the options that EPA has identified when developing their plans and control requirements for existing affected facilities within their boundaries. Under this plan, existing EGUs will be required to reduce GHG emissions by an average of 32 percent from 2005 levels by 2030.
The following pre-publication rules and supporting documents are available:
• Clean Power Plan for Existing EGUs
• Carbon Pollution Standards for New, Modified & Reconstructed EGUs
• Proposed Federal Plan and Model Rule for the Clean Power Plan
- White House Announcement Means ‘Today Is a Very Big Day for PACE’ (Greentech Media, Inc.)
- EPA recently released a suite of proposed rules addressing methane emissions from the oil and gas sector
- EPA Proposes Cutting Methane Emissions From Oil, Natural-Gas Drilling (The Wall Street Journal)
- What you need to know about Obama’s biggest global warming move yet — the Clean Power Plan
- Climate change 'triple threat' increases severe flooding risk in biggest US cities
- Apple, Microsoft, Google and other US firms to commit $140bn to address climate change
- Top 6 at 6 - Climate Change Legal Highlights of the First Six Months of 2015
- Investors could lose $4.2tn due to impact of climate change, report warns
- In flood-prone areas, a rising tide of population
- Climate scientists say 2015 on track to be warmest year on record
- States Targets Shift under Final Climate Change Plan
- Building Block 4 Removed as Pre-emptive move for Supreme Court
- Obama to unveil Clean Power Plan on Monday
- Supreme Court overturns landmark EPA air pollution rule
- Pope Francis, in Sweeping Encyclical, Calls for Swift Action on Climate Change (NYTimes)
- Pope's climate change encyclical tells rich nations: pay your debt to the poor
- The latest global temperature data are breaking records (The Guardian)
- Braving The Headwinds Hitting US Wind Energy (Law360)
- The 4 Biggest Energy Cases Of 2015 So Far (Law360)
- E.P.A. Takes Step to Cut Emissions From Planes (NYTimes)
- Coal Plant Rules Proposed by E.P.A. Survive Challenge in Federal Court (NYTimes)
- DC Circ. Lets EPA's Carbon Reduction Plan Proceed (Law360)
- U.S. scientists: Global warming pause 'no longer valid' (BBC News)
- The Case for a Carbon Tax (NYTimes)
- FERC to EPA: we are here to help on Clean Power Plan (Lexology)
- Scientists Cast Doubt On An Apparent 'Hiatus' in Global Warning (NPR)
- 'Moon shot' call on clean energy (BBC News)
- Global Warming ‘Hiatus’ Challenged by NOAA Research (NYTimes)
- Can Regions, Cities Become 100% Dependent on Renewable Energy? Absurd? Not Anymore (Bloomberg)
- Houston flooding and lawyers - a climate change informed view (Lexology)
- Major economies falling short on emissions target
- Investors need climate change behavioral shift: study
- Fracking Has Not Had Big Effect on Water Supply, E.P.A. Says While Noting Risks
- Cuomo administration keeping fracking ban in New York despite report that it causes no 'widespread' water contamination
- Exxon’s Gamble: 25 years of rejecting shareholder concerns on Climate Change
- EPA clarifies that new study does not find fracking is safe
- Prosecutors Consider Criminal Charges in Santa Barbara Pipeline Break
- Governors Largely Shrug Off McConnell's Call to Boycott Clean Power Plan Compliance (Bloomberg)
- New report confirms environmental sustainability is good business (Lexology)
- 1st Circ. Revives Challenge To $2.6B Offshore Wind Farm (Law360)
- Santa Barbara oil spill: Pipeline operator has long record of problems
- Oil Giants Band Together to Add Voice to Climate Debate
- Lawmakers look to take Congress out of pipeline approval process
- 1st Circ. Revives Challenge To $2.6B Offshore Wind Farm
- Electric Cos. Need Carbon Plan Flexibility, FERC Tells EPA
- Canada Pledges To Cut Carbon Emissions By 30%
- Massive Antarctic Ice Shelf Will Be Gone Within Years, NASA
- Alaska’s Tricky Intersection of Obama’s Energy and Climate Legacies
- Australia’s Renewable Energy Target for 2020 finally set at nearly twice the current size
- Washington State Declares Drought Emergency
- Senate bill would create national renewable electricity standard
- Climate change alert: Global carbon dioxide tops 400 ppm for first time
- McConnell has new argument for EPA climate rule
- California Governor Orders New Target for Emissions Cuts
- New Study Links Weather Extremes to Global Warming
- DC Circ. Nixes Challenges To Car, Truck Emissions Rules
- Pope Francis Steps Up Campaign on Climate Change
- Believer among the skeptics: A Canadian’s crusade to convert Christians to climate change belief
- EPA Administrator Highlights Benefits Of Clean Power Plan
- Obama says Climate Change is evident in Everglades speech
- Carbon Emissions Are Up In The Energy Sector. But There’s A Silver Lining.
- Judges Skeptical of Challenge to Proposed E.P.A. Rule on Climate Change
- The new normal of carbon pricing: Ontario to unveil a cap-and-trade system in an effort to reduce greenhouse gas emissions
- Ontario unveils plan to join greenhouse gas emissions cap-and-trade system
- Low Carbon Fuel Standard overview
- Judges Hear Challenge to Proposed E.P.A. Rule to Curb Climate Change
- Dutch government taken to court on climate change
- EPA Can Regulate GHGs At Some Power Plants, DC Circ. Says
- Natural Gas Industry Backs Rate-Based Clean Power Plan
- SCOTUS declines to hear Public Trust Doctrine claims relating to GHG emissions
- EPA Climate Rule Flooded with Comments
- Energy Efficiency Maybe Key to Climate Change
- 16 U.S. Communities Recognized as Climate Action Champions
- 83% of Americans say Climate is Changing
Global Climate Change and U.S. Law, Second Edition
Michael B. Gerrard and Jody Freeman, Editors
This comprehensive examination of U.S. law as it relates to climate change completely updates and reconsiders material from the prior edition while adding extensive new material. Recognizing that climate change is largely an energy problem, a new section addresses energy regulation.
Order now. Log in to see special Section of Environment, Energy, and Resources member price of $89.95.
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Message from the Chair
The co-chairs and vice-chairs of the Committee encourage you to become actively involved in our programs and discussions and welcome you to enjoy the benefits of Committee membership. Please do not hesitate to contact us if you have questions about the activities of the Committee, would like to become more involved with the projects we plan to undertake this year, or if you are interested in initiating a project not listed here.
Climate Change: Climate change continues to be a source of rapid developments in environmental law. Over the course of 2013 and 2014, EPA will propose new source performance standards for greenhouse gas emissions from new and existing sources. These rulemakings will have significant impacts on the electric power generation sector and raise a number of important legal questions. There are also a range of other executive branch activities on greenhouse gases and climate change. Litigation related to these issues continues, including a recent grant of certiorari by the Supreme Court and pending cases in the D.C. Circuit and other courts of appeals.
Sustainable Development: The ABA House of Delegates recently adopted a resolution on sustainability, and a presidential-level ABA task force has been established to carry out the implementation of the resolution. The Committee will be working with the Task Force, and we will be looking for ways for our committee to support their activities. The Committee also continues to work to identify ways that lawyers can better advise clients on sustainability issues. For more information on these programs or if you have suggestions for other programs, contact our Sustainable Development Vice Chairs, Georgy Wyeth or John C. Dernbach.
Social Media: The ABA’s Section on Environment, Energy, and Resources has a limited number of dedicated pages for subgroups on LinkedIn, and CCSDE was selected as one of those pages. We encourage all members of the Committee to join the group on LinkedIn and to join our conversations. We post useful information and updates and have had some great exchanges of views on the page. It’s a great way to stay in touch with your colleagues and contacts in this subject area as well. If you have questions, please contact our social media vice-chair, Ruth Ivory-Moore.
Electronic Communications: The Committee will continue to regularly update this webpage with developments of interest, as well as continue sending updates to our members via the committee list serve and periodic e-mails on climate change, sustainable development and ecosystems news items. We hope this will keep our members abreast of recent developments in the field. If you have an update you would like to share with Committee members, or if you have any comments on the e-mail updates, please e-mail electronic communications vice-chairs, Elizabeth Stevens and Jameson Tweedie.
Programs and Public Service: The Committee will continue to develop excellent programming, including proposals for the Section Fall Meeting and Annual Conference on Environmental Law, regional programming, and responsive Quick Teleconferences and webinars. If you have an idea you would like to discuss, please contact our Programs Vice Chairs, Bernard Hawkins, Marisa Martin, Andrew D. Otis, and Gary Steinbauer.
Committee Newsletter: The Committee plans to publish four quarterly newsletters during the coming year. If you are interested in submitting an article or have an idea you would like to discuss, please contact our Newsletter Vice Chairs, Victor Baltera, Bill Smalling and Eric Waeckerlin.
The Year In Review: Each year, the Committee contributes a section on climate change, sustainable development, and ecosystems to the ABA SEER The Year in Review. This publication provides an excellent summary of the most significant events in the field. If you are interested in working on The Year in Review for our Committee, please contact our The Year in Review Vice Chairs, Kevin Davis, Shannon Dilley, and Misty Sims.
This comprehensive 602 page survey has been prepared by Kelly Nishikawa, Benjamin Lowenthal and other students at Pace Law School’s Global Center for Environmental Legal Studies, under the oversight of the Associate Director of Environmental Law Programs, Laura Jensen. This very valuable reference document accompanies Global Climate Change and U.S. Law, Second Edition (Michael B. Gerrard and Jody Freeman, eds, 2014), available online at the ABA webstore. It compiles state legislation, rules and executive orders that specifically address climate change as of the end of April 2014. It also includes a wide variety of state activities that may have an impact on greenhouse gases including legislation related to energy efficiency and renewable energy. The focus of this material is to provide readers with an understanding of the range of state activity that may contribute to greenhouse gas reduction and climate change. Some types of energy efficiency, alternative fuels and renewable energy legislation (such as tax credits for hybrid vehicles) are very similar from state to state; some laws have a short duration and therefore may not be codified (such as temporary tax credits); energy legislation is being enacted at an increasing pace. As a result, not all energy efficiency, alternative fuels and renewable energy legislation and other activity in every state are included in this compilation.
View the survey >>
Purchase the book >>
Welcome to the homepage of the Climate Change, Sustainable Development, and Ecosystems Committee (CCSDE). Our committee is a cross-practice committee within the Section of Environment, Energy, and Resources. Our goal is to make the Committee a premier source of information and a forum for discussion on the law and policies related to climate change, sustainable development, and ecosystems. The coming year will be a very exciting one in these fields and our Committee will continue to be on the forefront of new developments.
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Committee Communications/ List Serve
The primary way that the Climate Change, Sustainable Development, and Ecosystems committee disseminates information is through our List Serve, which is distributed to all Committee members. Please feel free to contact the Committee members with any questions or to share information regarding recent developments in the field of climate change, sustainable development, and ecosystems by using the list serve. The list serve address for the committee is ENVIRON-CCSDE@mail.americanbar.org. (You must be a member to use this list serve.)
View the full roster of Climate Change, Sustainable Development, and Ecosystems Committee leadership.
Counseling Farmers, Ranchers, Agri-Businesses and Food Entrepreneurs on Insurance
Current Hot Topics in Climate Change Law
Green Building: A Practical Guide to Transactional and Litigation Issues
An archive of the committee's past newsletters is available.
Modified by Dana Jonusaitis on August 25, 2015